On June 16, 1858, Abraham Lincoln famously said, "a house divided against itself cannot stand." Civil War history buffs know the premise behind this speech well. If you're fascinated by the events that took place at popular war sites like Gettysburg, Richmond, or Charleston, where the first Confederate shots were fired, consider staying at a historic bed and breakfast or inn that played a role in Civil War history!
Experience Civil War history firsthand at historic inns and B&Bs. Imagine spending the weekend in a place where Confederate and Union soldiers battled it out over 100 years ago! Or walk the halls of a home that should have been burnt to the ground, but was somehow spared by General Sherman on his famous march to the sea. These authentic experiences and more are possible when you stay at a historic bed and breakfast or inn!
If you want to truly experience what it was like back in the 1860s, consider visiting one of these 4 best places for Civil War History Buffs.
Get Cozy With A Confederate Sharpshooter.
Where: The Richard Johnston Inn Bed and Breakfast in Fredericksburg, Virginia
A must-see for Civil War history buffs, the Richard Johnston Inn was built in the late 1700s by one of the original signers of the Declaration of Independence, architect John Taylow. In the 1800s, it housed the city's major and its namesake, Richard Johnston.
In the December of 1862, a Civil war battle destroyed most of Downtown Fredericksburg. Prior to the battle, Confederate sharpshooters fired shots out of the Richard Johnston Inn's back windows at the Yankees on the other side of the river. Today, you can see evidence of the Civil War battle on the inn's front facade! The exterior brick has numerous scars from dozens of large caliber bullet strikes. The back of the inn was also hit by rifle fire!
You might even run into a Confederate sharpshooter during your stay at the Richard Johnston Inn! David is a harmless spirit who can be heard occasionally walking around in his boots upstairs. David isn't the only friendly ghost at the Richard Johnston Inn. There's also the mischievous and playful spirit of a pre-Civil War slave named Toby, who's known to rearrange the silverware when no one is looking!
Despite its Civil War wounds, the Richard Johnston Inn has become the most award-winning bed and breakfast in historic Fredericksburg!
Relax In A Restored War Casualty.
Where: The 1890 Caroline House in Fredericksburg, Virginia
Down the street from the Richard Johnston Inn in the city's historic district, is the lovingly restored 1890 Caroline House. Originally owned by Jane Steady prior to the Civil War, the property was unfortunately destroyed in the December battle of 1862. This is the same battle that left the Richard Johnston Inn's front facade wounded.
A stunning Victorian Home, the Caroline House was built in 1891 as a private residence for Robert Walker Adams, the city's treasurer. Historians call the house the "Shady Lady" due to a questionable exchange of property between Adams and his business partner, A.K. Phillips.
Shortly after construction completed, Adams died tragically in a carriage ride. His obituary described him as a man of "strictest fidelity and uprightness." The shadiness continued when it was later discovered Adam, the city's treasurer, was short on his books by $4,361.55. At the time, this amount was two times the value of his new home!
Years later, the 1890 Caroline House left behind its shady past to become one of the most romantic and luxurious historic bed and breakfasts in Fredericksburg!
Seek Refuge In A Former Civil War Hospital.
Where: The Anchorage 1770 in Beaufort, South Carolina
Sometime in the late 1700s, the Anchorage 1770 was built on the corner of Bay and Newcastle street. Known as the "Queen of the Bay" and the William Elliott House, there is much speculation about its construction date and original owner. Prior to the Civil War, it was occupied by William Elliott III, a highly respected and successful politician, planter, sportsman, and author!
A true Southerner at heart, Elliott served several terms in the South Carolina House of Representatives and in the state's Senate! Despite his roots, he didn't always agree with the political views of other Southerners. His strong opposition to nullification led to his resignation from the SC Senate.
A political hybrid, Elliott was pro-Southern but against secession. Despite his opposition, he joined the Confederacy when the Civil War broke out. In early November of 1861, Elliott fled his home to avoid the approaching Union Army. At the time, General Sherman was burning cities and towns to the ground on his famously devastating march to the sea! Elliott feared his beautiful summer mansion would soon be a pile of ashes.
In a letter to General Grant, Sherman wrote of his plans to devastate the entire state of South Carolina. To everyone's surprise, he utilized Beaufort as a place of refuge and a vital piece in his blockade strategy after the Battle of Port Royal. The entire town, including the William Elliott House, became a central hospital for wounded Union soldiers!
While away, Elliott died in 1863 and never saw his beautiful summer home in Beaufort again. Over 200 years later, the Anchorage 1770 is different kind of refuge today! No longer saving lives, it's now an escape for guests and Civil War history buffs seeking an authentic and luxurious Lowcountry experience!
Stay At A Southern Mansion Spared By Sherman.
Where: The Twelve Oaks Bed and Breakfast in Covington, Georgia
When you step foot into the Twelve Oaks Bed and Breakfast, it's traveling back in time to the splendor of 1800s. Dating back to 1836, this mansion is older than the city of Atlanta and considered one of the most exceptional examples of antebellum architecture in the South. It also happens to be one of the largest historic homes in the Southeast, at an impressive 12,000 square feet!
From the art and woodwork to the antiques and chandeliers, every detail of the Twelve Oaks speaks of its authenticity. Perhaps what's most surprising is the fact that this Southern mansion withstood the destruction of the Civil War! In an attempt to destroy the South's economic and transportation infrastructure, General Sherman burned entire cities and towns to the ground. He even burned Atlanta, which is only 30 minutes from Covington!
According to this Civil War eye witness account, Sherman's army passed through Covington, Georgia, raiding and burning homes. For whatever reason, Sherman spared the Twelve Oaks! Perhaps, he too, recognized it as a treasure worth preserving.
The property was once again saved in 2012 when its current owner, Nicole Greer, purchased it out of foreclosure and completely restored it to its original beauty. Today, the beautiful Southern mansion saves its guests in a different way. Providing a luxurious and enchanting stay, it's the perfect place for a romantic getaway. If you love Civil War history, the Twelve Oaks is truly a treasure worth experiencing in person!
Which historic bed and breakfast is your favorite? Do you have any places you'd like to add to your list for Civil War history buffs?